On July 21st, 2023, Executive Director Shobhana Verma was featured in an article advocating for improvements to language access to Illinois’ broader immigrant community. The article discussed the challenges Illinois immigrants, numbering more than 1 million, face including ” getting basic services, much less participating in civic life. Advocacy groups say more resources and attention to language access — both in terms of government services and voter outreach — are needed if immigrants are to participate fully in the economic, social and civic life of Illinois.
Last year, SAAPRI was part of a coalition that advocated for more language help at the polls. They pushed the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners to update important voter information on its website in key Asian languages and to add more bilingual workers and materials on Election Day.”
In reference to government agencies (from those in charge of elections to public benefits to drivers licenses):
We need to look at the diversity in the workforce when we’re staffing. Do we have employees with bilingual skills that are community facing and not just pulling employees from different departments just because we got a call in a particular language?Shobhana Verma, Executive Director of SAAPRI
- Read more from the article here